What works for kids? In Norway, it's a less-stressful classroom atmosphere.

  • Article by: REBECCA LOWEN
  • Updated: November 7, 2013 - 8:25 PM

In Norway, it’s a less-stressful approach to the classroom. My son loves it.

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kleindropperNov. 8, 13 6:37 AM

Wow, reading, writing and arithmetic, what a novel idea. I wonder what grade Norwegians start teaching the important stuff: white privilege, climate destruction, and alternative lifestyles?

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twspt7Nov. 8, 13 9:45 AM

I wonder how much money the Norwegians are "throwing" at their education system, compared to Minnesota in particular and the USA in general?

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gandalf48Nov. 8, 1310:29 AM

Norway is the same country that has extremely strict immigration standards and tend to only take the best and brightest due to the large amount of government subsidies handed out its own citizens.

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davehougNov. 8, 1311:41 AM

Small classes where the teacher KNOWS whether Johnny can read and less pressure in the class DOES help. Love of learning and less disruptions are great benefits. Our teachers can only present info when dealing with 25-30 kids and those who need more attention WILL lose out.

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alijasedNov. 8, 13 2:10 PM

There are some good lessons represented here. But how do we measure the achievement gap, how do we teach to students that are from 15 different countries in one classroom. Norway does not have the ethnic makeup, so there is no way we can compare.

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tooty123Nov. 8, 13 2:38 PM

Thirteen students in a classroom! Ideal! The Norwegians are very insistent on good education and literacy of its population. They spend more on education because an educated population is good for the country. We warehouse students in large schools with large classrooms. Not a way to be able to learn in an overcrowded classroom with barely time for student/teacher contact. They also consider teachers professionals and pay them accordingly. They don't get the bashing the way US teachers do. I visited with my cousin who teaches elementary in Oslo. What a difference in how they are treated. She speaks and reads four different languages which helps with the immigrant students in her classroom. They don't just let the "best and the brightest' immigrate to their country. But they do there best to welcome them to their country--unlike parts of the US.

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hobie2Nov. 8, 13 2:42 PM

Focus on the child's needs for effective learning instead of force-teaching the child?... Those Northern Europeans just do not understand the world. If you want productive workers who have a high quality of life, you need to do it the American way... After all, who has the highest worker productivity and top quality of life on the planet?... Oh.. Norway does..... OK, but they don't have as good reality TV!

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arspartzNov. 8, 13 2:46 PM

How many mainstreamed special-ed kids are disrupting the class? How much time is being spend teaching diversity and other liberal indoctrination subjects?

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badcopperNov. 8, 13 3:23 PM

Norway is such a economic and academic powerhouse

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ellenmingottNov. 8, 13 3:46 PM

gandalf48: Funny you say that, as the general perception among the population here in Oslo is quite the opposite. Skilled worker residency may be strictly controlled for poor non-Europeans like me (remember, there is more or less freedom of movement within the Schengen/the EU), but that of course does not apply to the refugees and asylum seekers that Norway takes in. I am an immigrant in Norway who has been here only about 3 years. I've been studying immigration and education, incidentally. In my experience the greatest danger in discussing these topics is the temptation to draw sweeping generalizations from small samples. Education is not a "one size fits all" scenario, and what works best for one group of students may not work best for another. The basis for this article is one student presumably getting extra assistance as a Norwegian Language Learner for the past few months. ESL students here typically get more personalized attention too (the structure will vary based on the school/district). There are some statistics here suggesting that the Norwegian students are outperforming US students, but there are also many studies that do not exactly paint Norway as a beacon of education. (Look to Finland/South Korea for that.) The Norwegians DO hold time "in nature" sacred to a degree most Americans would not understand. That is one obvious, drastic difference that is interesting and could be an important variable in the education outcomes in Norway. Poverty rates have consistently been shown to affect educational achievement. Norway has a markedly low level of income disparity. One would do well to take a hard look at that when talking about education in the US versus other countries.

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